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Russia's talent shows jump starts careers

Sept. 3, 2004 at 11:26 AM

MOSCOW, Sept. 3 (UPI) -- "Narodny Artist," Russia's "Pop Idol" clone, drew double the contestants for season two not that it's seen as a jump start for pop music careers.

More than 7,000 hopefuls turned out in Moscow for recent auditions as the show, translated to mean "People's Performer," gets set to air its second season this month on the Rossiya channel, the St. Petersburg (Russia) Times reported Friday.

The judging panel expanded its contestant search this season to auditions in Ukraine and in Minsk, Belarus, where 4,000 singers showed up.

Alexei Goman, 20, who won "Narodny Artist's" first season, said the show provided a shortcut to get into the music business.

"They show (you) on national television for five months and people start to recognize you. It opened a door for me. Now I will get more experience," Goman said.

A similar show, "Fabrika Zvyozd" ("Star Factory") has aired four segments on Channel One.

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